North East Lincolnshire

Reflections 2018: Ray Oxby – Council plans finally come together

2018 has been a year for North East Lincolnshire Council, where many of our plans have finally come together. 

Regeneration and investment doesn’t happen overnight. It takes long hours (and often sleepless nights) to pull bids for funding together, to lobby funding partners, wait with bated breath, and finally to receive news.

The dedication of our officers has paid off in spades this year. Blocks of funding have dropped into place to regenerate areas of Grimsby and Cleethorpes, and to provide additional support for Immingham and other areas of our borough.

The historic Town Deal was signed with Government ministers in July this year – the only one of its kind in the UK. We can’t underestimate what this means for North East Lincolnshire.

Leading politicians sign off on the Greater Grimsby Town deal.

It signals that government believes in our vision and feels we’re in such a place that we can lead the plan with confidence and credibility.

Since then, we’ve been regularly engaging with central government and a host of other partners to build the plans, to cement the proposals. We’re driving economic growth, not only in the town centres, but also in our outlying sites. 

  • We’ve already developed the Cress Marsh near Stallingborough that will help de-risk future investment.
  • The new year will bring the new link road from Grimsby to Hobson Way.
  • Areas of the port have been designated as a Heritage Action Zone, allowing us, and others, to bid for grants to support projects there.
  • We’re working in partnership with the University of Lincoln, ABP and GIFHE to develop a new HE presence in Grimsby.
  • We’re working with credible and keen private investors to develop the centre of Grimsby.
  • And work will be starting on the ground in Cleethorpes in January to transform and enhance areas of the resort, improve traffic, introduce public art and help protect historic buildings on Alexandra Road. As well as this, we’re providing funding to support events and activities to further extend the tourism season and offer.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing this year though, and neither should it be.

We’ve had to make some tough decisions. Since 2010, we’ve have had our overall budget cut by more than 35%. But we’ve managed our finances prudently soundly and by streamlining the way we work we’ve protected many of the services for the most vulnerable.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s cabinet.

The cuts aren’t going to stop and the government-driven austerity is far from over, but by doing the work in our towns, we’re helping to create a more stable base from we can grow the local economy.

In other areas, we’ve cracked down on rogue landlords, anti-social behaviour, fly-tippers and those who allow their dogs to foul our streets. We’ve helped nearly 5000 people unload nearly 200 tonnes of rubbish at the Skip It events. We’ve listened to what you’ve told us and acted.

As a council, we’ve been shortlisted for four national awards for our work, two of them for the ground-breaking work we’re doing on helping to change behaviour.

Not only that, but our children’s services won a national award – richly deserved, given the important work that is being done in that area.

Things are changing in our area. There will, no doubt, be disruption as building work starts, but for those who live here, those who visit and those who own businesses or work here, it will be worth it as the area grows and our attractions increase.

Since I’ve been leader, it feels like we’ve been doing a lot of work in the background. I look forward to seeing the fruits of our labours in 2019 and beyond.

All that remains is to wish you a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.